The People of the Abyss
Written when London arrived in England at the age of 25, this book gives a firsthand account of the poor, the menial workers, the homeless, and the perpetually unemployed among whom he lived in the slums of London's East End at the turn of the 20th century. It is a sensitive portrayal of daily life on the margins of society that culminates in a searing indictment of modern industrialism's mistreatment of workers and the poverty-stricken and its propensity for transferring wealth to the rich.
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Page 128 - For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me, and I say to this man, go, and he goeth ; and to another, come, and he cometh ; and to my servant do this, and he doeth it.
Page 165 - Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, Where wealth accumulates and men decay: Princes and lords may flourish or may fade; A breath can make them, as a breath has made; But a bold peasantry, their country's pride, When once destroyed, can never be supplied.
Page 140 - And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.
Page 208 - Is it well that while we range with Science, glorying in the Time, City children soak and blacken soul and sense in city slime ? There among the glooming alleys Progress halts on palsied feet, Crime and hunger cast our maidens by the thousand on the street.
Page 140 - And he will appoint him captains over thousands and captains over fifties, and will set them to ear his ground and to reap his harvest and to make his instruments of war and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries and to be cooks and to be bakers.
Page v - With gates of silver and bars of gold Ye have fenced my sheep from their Father's fold; I have heard the dropping of their tears In heaven these eighteen hundred years.
Page 139 - And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you : He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen ; and some shall run before his chariots.
Page 74 - It is not to die, or even to die of hunger, that makes a man wretched...
Page 140 - And he will take your fields and your vineyards, and your olive-yards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your men-servants, and your maid-servants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king, which ye shall...
Page 141 - With this sword do justice, stop the growth of iniquity, protect the holy church of God, help and defend widows and orphans, restore the things that are gone to decay, maintain the things that are restored, punish and reform what is amiss, and confirm what is in good order...